Defective Product Attorneys
Whether you are injured by an exploding Takata airbag, a motorcycle with excessive steering wobble, or an unsafe drug deceptively marketed to consumers for unapproved uses, you must pursue any claim for compensation against large corporations. If consumers purchase a motor vehicle, electronic device, infant’s car seat, or other consumer product, they reasonably anticipate that the products will function as expected and that the products will not cause injuries or fatalities.
Despite these expectations, millions of people in Florida and throughout the U.S. suffer injuries caused by faulty products each year. Manufacturers of consumer products often prioritize their bottom line over consumer safety by cutting corners in the design or manufacturing process. In other cases, companies that market products to consumers fail to provide adequate safety warnings and instructions. The threat of injury to consumers from unreasonably unsafe products is increasing because of a growing trend of importing and marketing products from foreign countries with lax safety standards and practices.
Our experienced and dedicated product liability attorneys have obtained tens of millions of dollars during our fifteen (15) years representing people injured by faulty products. Because we have handled many defective product claims, we are equipped to handle the full spectrum of injury claims, involving unsafe conditions on residential, commercial, and public property. We have worked diligently to build a reputation among our peers, insurance companies, the insurance defense bar, former clients by obtaining large settlements and judgments against product manufacturers who have failed to adequately design, manufacture, test, or market their products. Some of the honors garnered by our defective products include the following:
- “Superb 10.0” Designation by AVVO (Rates all attorneys in the United States)
- Designation by Martindale-Hubbell as “Preeminent AV” rating (Based on peer review)
- Acknowledgment as “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and World Report
- Dozens of former client reviews on AVVO, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and other websites
- Recognized by the National Trial Lawyers among the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers”
During the 15 years since the founding of the Shiner Law Group, we have handled lawsuits involving defective products claims involving a wide range of injuries and faulty consumer goods. This diverse experience has allowed us to develop relationships with experts in many industries, as well as medical experts and vocational counselors. We work closely with experts to hold companies that burden consumers with unsafe products accountable while pursuing the fullest recovery for consumers injured by unreasonably unsafe or defective products.
Product Liability Lawyers Outline Legal Basis for Recovery
When you suffer injury caused by a defective product, there are multiple theories of liability our experienced Palm Beach County defective product attorneys utilize to pursue compensation for consumers injured by faulty products. Our law firm might pursue any entity involved in the production, manufacturing, and distribution chain of a product. An important function of property liability law involves shifting the financial risk associated with defective products to business entities in the position to prevent injury. Since the companies involved in the production-distribution chain are best positioned to anticipate defects, take measures to prevent injury, warn consumers of problems, and ensure against losses, product liability law makes it easier to take on manufacturers of defective products.
Our defective product law firm tailors our litigation strategy to fit the particular circumstances of a case, but we often pursue claims based on three separate legal theories: negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty.
- Breach of Warranty: While many products come with express (written warranties), products without an express warranty usually will be subject to warranties that are implied by law. Two implied warranties often provide a basis for imposing liability in a defective product lawsuit: (1) the warranty of merchantability; and (2) the warranty of fitness for particular purpose. The implied warranty of merchantability essentially provides that a product meets consumers’ normal expectations. These expectations would include the fact the product will not cause injury when used as reasonably anticipated. In this context, the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose applies in situations where the entity in the production-distribution chain is aware of a particular use or application of the product planned by the consumer. If the product fails to meet the terms of either of these implied warranties or an express warranty, this breach might provide a basis for prevailing in a product liability claim.
- Negligence Claims: When a faulty product causes injury to a consumer because of flaws caused by failure to take reasonable care to prevent injury to others, negligence might constitute a cause of action. Negligence can affect the design, manufacture process, inspection process or marketing of the defective product. Any entity in the production or distribution chain might be liable if negligence caused the product to be hazardous to consumers.
- Strict Liability: In some respects, the process of proving liability in a defective products lawsuit can be easier than in a car accident case. An injured consumer might not be required to prove the negligent conduct associated with the defect that caused injury. Entities involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of defective products can be liable on a “no fault” basis, which is referred to as “strict liability.” A product causes injury because of poor materials, flawed design, inadequate instructions, or other factors, parties involved in the design, manufacturing, and sales chain can be liable on a strict liability. The defect must have existed when the product left the company’s possession. Under this theory of liability, the injured consumer is relieved of the obligation of proving a lack of reasonable care by entities in the manufacturing-distribution chain for the unsafe product. The consumer must still establish the following under a strict liability theory: (1) the product is defective; (2) the defect was present when the product left the entities control; and (3) the defect caused the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
Types of Defective Goods Involved in Product Defect Lawsuits in Recent Years
There are many products that cause injuries to consumers every year, which cover a broad spectrum of types of products ranging from motor vehicles to cribs for infants. While many products are recalled because of safety concerns and defects, the products can cause catastrophic injury or wrongful death before being recalled. Further, manufacturers sometimes move slowly to report injuries caused by their products or to implement product recalls. Some defective product claims, our law firm can evaluate for injured consumers include the following:
Defective Motor Vehicles
Despite the development of new safety features such as more airbags and crash avoidance systems, a growing number of vehicles have been linked to serious injuries and fatalities in recent years. Defective motor vehicle lawsuits can involve car, pickups, SUVs, 15-passenger vans, motorcycles, boats, and ATVs. Examples include the following:
Sudden Acceleration Accidents: Toyota faced claims involving many of its vehicles because they allegedly began accelerating to dangerous speeds autonomously. The issue of unintended acceleration in certain Toyota and Lexus vehicles received worldwide attention following a fiery crash that claimed multiple lives. The crash occurred when a California Highway Patrol Officer was driving a loaner Lexus ES350 from a dealership. Before the tragic crash, vehicle occupants placed a 911 call indicating the vehicle accelerator was stuck and that the brakes were not functioning. The Lexus struck an SUV then was launched into a ditch before erupting into flame. Multiple family members died, and others suffered serious injury. Toyota and the dealership paid large settlements. The lawsuit also led to the Justice Department ordering a $1.2 billion payout for hiding knowledge that similar problems were present in other vehicles and failing to properly inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the major risk posed by the accelerator pedals.
Faulty Ignition Switches: General Motors (GM) recalled nearly 30 million vehicles worldwide because of faulty ignition switches that could rotate into the off position disabling the engine, power brakes, power steering, and airbag deployment. The manufacturer paid compensation to at least 124 fatalities victims while paying $900 million to the U.S. government as part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. GM acknowledged awareness of the ignition switch issue at least a decade prior the initial recall. The automaker agreed to pay $35 million in fines to the federal government for delays in issuing recalls.
Exploding Airbags: The Takata airbag recalls have been designated as the “largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” Nineteen (19) different vehicle manufacturers have issued recalls related to airbags manufactured by Takata. These airbags caused serious injury and wrongful death when chemicals used in the metallic airbag inflators exploded propelling shrapnel at vehicle occupants. The recall is estimated to affect 42 million vehicles involving 64 to 69 million airbags.
Bans and Recalls of Consumer Products
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injuries and fatalities from thousands of consumer products under the CPSC’s jurisdiction. The agency is dedicated to protecting consumers and their families from chemical, fire, electrical, mechanical, and choking hazards, which cost approximately a trillion dollars annually. While recalls and recalls of products can cover a broad range of consumer products, some significant recent recalls and defective product lawsuits include:
Ikea Furniture Wrongful Death Lawsuit: The Swedish furniture factory recently reached a $50 million settlement when the company’s furniture collapsed on three (3) small children causing them to be crushed to death. The lawsuit alleged that the unsafe design of the furniture made it “inherently unstable and easily tipped over.” Documents filed in the lawsuit also indicate that the company consistently failed to comply with voluntary national safety standards for the stability of dressers and chests.
Cell Phone and Laptop Battery Recalls: Both laptop computers and cell phones have had issues with batteries causing fires. The Samsung Note 7 recently was recalled for having a battery that posed a risk of causing fires.
Some of the many other products that are subject to recall or that have caused injuries and fatalities to consumers include:
- Cribs & Strollers
- Space Heaters
- Car Seats
- Dangerous Drugs
- Consumer Electronics
- Infants Products
- Children’s Toys
- Household Goods
- Food Products
- Health Supplements
- Hazardous Substances (cleaning agents, pesticides, asbestos, etc.)
- Medical Appliances (defibrillator leads, pain pumps, mesh, hip replacement devices, prosthetics, heart valves, heart monitors)
- Defective Workplace Machinery (punch presses, nail guns, other construction/manufacturing equipment)
- Cosmetic surgery implants (penile, breasts, and other cosmetic surgeries)
Dangerous Pharmaceuticals: While pharmaceuticals are designed to treat medical conditions and ease pain, the industry makes billions of dollars in revenue. Drug makers have strong incentives to rush drugs to the market. This focus on profits over safety might promote manipulation of clinic trials, failure to disclose adverse incident reports, and illegal marketing of off-label uses of drugs. We represent patients harmed by pain medications like Bextra, and Vioxx, cholesterol drugs, and other medications.
Product Liability Lawyers Highlight Defects That Endanger Consumers
Flaws and defects that threaten the safety of consumers can be as diverse as the variety of products in the market. However, the categories of defects that typically serve as a basis for pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit typically include the following:
Design Defects: This form of defect involves every unit of a particular make or model. The fault that exposes consumers to a risk of injury is inherent in the design of the product. Even if the product conforms precisely to the design specifications, the defect will be present. A product can be determined to have a design defect when a feasible alternative design could have been used that would have mitigated the risk of injury. An example of a design defect might be a transmission gear shift that returns to the center position which can confuse consumers about whether the vehicle is in drive or park. Toys for children with removable parts that pose choke hazards constitute another example of a design defect.
Manufacturing Defects: Manufacturing defects occur during the fabrication of a product. Although a product might be safe for consumers when manufactured according to the design specifications, problems in the manufacturing process can cause the product to deviate from these specifications. While the inspection and quality control process will sometimes identify this type of issue, flaws that cause injury or death because they are not detected and eliminated can constitute a basis for imposing liability. An example of a manufacturing defect might involve problems in the manufacturing process of radial tires that result in a defective bond between the steel belts and rubber. This defect can result in the tires suddenly losing their tread.
Assembly Defects: When the design or manufacturing of a vehicle is not defective, flaws might arise during assembly of the product. Bicycles might be more likely to be in a crash because of faulty brake or chain assembly. When components or parts are not properly attached, fastened, or secured, products can malfunction and cause serious injury. Faulty assembly provides another basis for imposing liability when the improper assembly causes personal injury or wrongful death.
Failure to Warn: Most products are reasonably safe when used in accordance with manufacturer directions. However, the instructions or warnings that accompany the product might be inadequate to protect consumers from injury. Improper labeling can constitute the basis for imposing liability. Product manufacturers are even expected to anticipate reasonably foreseeable misuse that might cause injury. A child’s toy with small parts that does not carry a warning to keep the product out of the reach of small children provides an example of this types of defect.
Importation of Dangerous Consumer Products
Consumers face a particular risk from consumer products imported from foreign countries that lack our safety standards and quality control measures crafted to ensure consumer products are free of hazards. U.S. companies increasingly are importing product from countries like China. These companies market the goods in a manner that deceives consumers into believing the goods were subjected to the rigorous standards applicable to consumer products manufactured in the U.S. During the last decade, goods manufactured in China have led to widespread recalls, bans, warnings, and scandals.
Some of the defective products imported from China and marketed to consumers by U.S. companies include:
- Toy coated with lead paint (e.g. Thomas train manufacturer Rc2)
- Radial tires with safety features eliminated causing the tires to come apart
- Suspect Chinese seafood
- Toothpaste containing poisoning substances
- Contaminated pet foods
- Sunglasses trained by led paint
- Cosmetics containing bacteria, lead, aluminum, beryllium, and mercury
Ways Our Delray Beach Product Liability Attorneys Help Clients
When a defective product has injured you, the process of pursuing a claim for damages involves complex legal and factual issues. Our law firm has successfully represented many people injured by a broad variety of consumer products. Our attorneys tenaciously pursue the fullest compensation for our clients by doing the following:
- Working with industry-specific experts
- Navigating legal deadlines and procedures like the statute of limitations and the Florida Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
- Furnishing the cost of litigation involved in taking on large corporations that manufacture products
- Assuming the risk associated with litigation by using contingency fee agreements
- Conducting an extensive investigation into the facts to construct a compelling legal claim
- Monitoring new developments in case law, statutory authority, and regulations that impact defective product claims
- Handling and coordinating large-scale litigation involving many plaintiffs or negligent parties
- Making efficient use of the discovery process to develop evidence of liability
- Coordinating medical attention and examinations to make sure our clients have the documentation they need to prove their damages
- Reviewing documents and witness information to identify facts that potentially justify punitive damages.
Defective product lawsuits can be filed by an individual plaintiff or as part of a class action or multi-district litigation (MDL) if the faulty product does harm to a significant number of consumers in a similar manner. When product liability claims take the form of a class action, a small number of representative plaintiffs might represent thousands of victims who have experienced comparable injuries. A class action lawsuit will not normally be appropriate when consumers have experienced severe or unique injuries.
There are many important actions that a person injured by a dangerous product should take to preserve a product defect claim:
- Save the faulty good and any packaging or documents that came with the product.
- Keep the defective product in a place where it will not be disturbed.
- Obtain contact information for any witnesses to the injuries caused by the unsafe product.
- Note all identification information about the product, such as the manufacturer, model number, model name, serial number, place and date of purchase.
- Do not post information about your injury claim on social media websites or discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury caused by a defective product, we welcome you to contact our experienced legal team so that we can evaluate your claim and advise you of your rights and options. We are committed to helping victims recover the compensation they need to move past injuries, so call us 24/7 at 561-777-7700 or online for a free case review to see how we can help. The Shiner Law Group represents victims of defective products in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, and throughout the surrounding counties.